Florida State is set to play host to the rival Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, and while the teams are only separated by a few spots in the BCS Rankings, the perceived gap is much larger. As the Miami Herald's Eye on the U points out, the Las Vegas point spread is the largest ever of a meeting of Top-10 teams.
However, with a month of football left, it is too early to call the 'Canes the worst No. 7 BCS team to date. Given Miami's schedule and its path to the ACC Championship Game, odds are Miami finishes better than other No. 7 teams in the last decade.
Outside of the Florida State game, the 'Canes are staring at four remaining regular-season contests: Virginia Tech, Duke, Virginia and Pittsburgh, opponents with a combined 18-13 record. In fact Duke, after its big win in Blacksburg, is looking like Al Golden's biggest challenge.
Virginia Tech cannot score; Pitt is up and down, and unless Devin Street and Tyler Boyd beat Miami by themselves, odds are the Panthers do not get it done. Then there is a UVA team that just keeps finding new ways to lose.
In other words, the Canes should win out, even if its through recent dramatics that powered them to late wins over North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Not only will wins in those games keep Miami's shot at an ACC Championship alive, giving it a shot to win in Charlotte, but it will also keep the Canes from falling into despair such as 2012 Oregon State, 2009 USC and 2007 Kentucky.
A season ago, after the release of the second BCS standings, the Beavers were in the seventh spot with an undefeated record and high hopes. Mike Riley's team came in with some survival games in the same vein as this year's Miami team -- pulling out close ones over Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona.
After climbing to No. 7, losses to Oregon, Stanford and an unranked Washington team pushed Oregon State down the rankings.
The bowl loss to Texas ultimately sank the Beavers to No. 20 in The Associated Press poll to end the season, a spot below the Texas Longhorns and 13 spots behind their highest BCS ranking. Still, it was a quality year for an Oregon State squad that failed to make a bowl game in the previous two seasons.
Pete Carroll's final year at USC saw the Trojans clock in at No. 7 in the BCS standings upon the initial release. The team climbed to No. 5 after beating Oregon State before blowout losses to Oregon and Stanford, followed by a season-ending loss to Arizona that sank the Trojans' ship.
The final rankings treated USC kindly, slotting them at No. 24 in the final BCS standings and No. 22 in the AP poll, following a win over BC in the Emerald Bowl. Unlike Oregon State, folks were less than thrilled with the 9-4 mark.
As for Kentucky, the Wildcats, led by head coach Rich Brooks, rode a string of wins, most notably over No. 9 Louisville, to a school-best BCS standings of No. 7. Quarterback Andre Woodson was getting Heisman buzz and the Wildcats were on top of the world. Then the Wildcats went into Columbia, S.C., and took a 38-24 beating at the hands of the Gamecocks, dropped a tough triple-overtime affair to eventual national champion LSU and then lost to Florida.
The result was a tumble, an abandoned Heisman campaign and a trip to the Music City Bowl. For Kentucky, the 8-5 finish was actually one of the better seasons in recent memory for the hapless Wildcats.
Miami's 2013 team likely avoids those fates. In fact, if this team continues to play the way it has most of the season, it should even avoid the 9-3 fate of another No. 7 team: the 2005 Miami Hurricanes. Golden's team has a double-digit win season in its sights, even with an expected loss to the Seminoles. That should allow Miami to get to 10 or more wins -- hardly the worst No. 7 the nation has seen.
Where other teams struggled to break the nine-win plateau, this Miami team is poised to break through. Even with a loss, the 'Canes should be staring at a rematch with Florida State in Charlotte for the ACC Championship. Not only should Miami get to double-digit wins and a quality bowl game, the 'Canes should likely finish in the Top 15.
All BCS Standings numbers via CollegeFootballPoll.com